Lights Off by Charlie Cunningham
I could hear my own breathing.
I was feeling so outcast. I didn’t do it.
But in the court of public opinion, I was sure that I had been labeled as the one that hurt Nora.
I stared at the wall. It was a nervous wait.
I knew they would send my father’s lawyer who had also been present during the case involving my mother.
It was like waiting for your test scores on a multiple choice test where you were sure the results would come, but unsure of what they would look like.
The clock ticked on as I watched the hands move around the sphere.
I was so tired.
I placed both my hands on the table and placed my head on it as I began to fall asleep.
Only about ten minutes the door burst open. It was Ballazar holding the open and my lawyer; Mr Cornell walked in.
Ballazar and Matthews sat across Sent from my iPhone
“Did you do it?”
I shook my head as I whispered lowly and said
“No I didn’t”
He looked into my eyes and he was ready to go. That was how he worked.
He always truly believed his clients.
It was the same way he spoke to my father when he came to our house after the murder of my mother.
This man defended my family and he was always present to support us.
Mr. Cornell started off by saying
“I would like for my client to be left alone if there is no real reason for holding him here except suspicion and hearsay.”
He was the arrogant one but the more experienced of the two.
“Well a few hours ago, we only had accounts from other or hearsay as you called it…
and now the rape kit test and the biopsy have come back and it shows some scarring and bruised tissue inside her privates.
There was also a high solution of latex presumably from a condom.
We found a condom wrapper in your room Mr Moka”
I was getting infuriated.
Now he was claiming I raped her???
She came to me!
How would I have been ale to rape her with one foot?
“I did not rape her. Yes we had sex but that was in my room and she came to me.
Why would I need to rape someone who…”
Mr Cornell jumped in and said
“Sage, I’m going to advise you not to answer any more questions”
I blew him off as I said
“No, it’s okay. I’m being wrongly accused here and it’s going on for too long.
Nora came to me that night, we had sex and when I woke up in the morning, she was gone. That was all I remember but I know I for sure did not hurt Nora.”
Ballazar laughed and said
“Isn’t it convenient that you cannot remember whether or not you killed a woman but you remember sex with the same woman?
How I see it, you wanted her. She said no. So you raped her and then poisoned her or maybe poisoned her and then raped her. Some of you young men are filthy nowadays”
I was filled with disgust and if I could jump across the table, I would have punched him in the face.
I leaned over the table and said
“You have got to stop telling me,, I did anything to that woman. I loved that woman and wanted her for years.
Why would I now kill her when I finally had a shot with her?
That’s just stupid and I’m not stupid.”
Matthews jumped in and said
“We also found a bottle of Hennessy in your room and she had a high level of alcohol in her system.
There was also tissue found under her fingernails… So she got a piece of her rapist”
“Take my sample. Test it!”
I snapped back at them.
Mr Cornell leaned in towards me and said
“You don’t have to do this. They have no reasonable proof”
“I have nothing to hide and I’m tired of this”
Mr Cornell said to the detectives
“Since my client is cooperating and not been declared a suspect, we would like to leave.”
“You are free to go but don’t . We may have further questions as things develop”
I got up and headed out of the room. My lawyer held the door open for me as I walked out.
The door closed behind us and I dropped down into a squatting position.
My legs felt weak. That pain in my ankles was back and my insides were riddled with fear.
I know I didn’t do it within my heart but it was sure looking like I did with every moving step.
I was beginning to think I might have done it and not known.
The confusion and fear was now killing me and all I could think was #WhatTheHeckMan
I sat down on the seat in the lobby with my head in my hands.
This process was overwhelming.
Familiar but overwhelming.
I was also accused when my mother died. It was just a floated possibility back then.
It obviously didn’t stick because I was younger and my alibi checked out but how many people have to defend themselves on two murders in their lifetime?
What if they didn’t believe me?
Some think OJ Simpson got off easy on the murder of his wife and associate but he still ended up in jail years later because of another offense.
What if people thought I was just a killer going around killing people?
My lawyer stood next to me and said
“I’m going to subpoena the video footage from the hotel if there is any and have my guy look over it. I noticed some cameras when I walked in.
I’ll also try to get any information I can off the autopsy report.
I’ll be back in a few hours… In the meantime, do not speak to anyone without me present.
I nodded without saying a word as he walked to the exit.
He stopped and said
“Oh btw, your father said he is flying in. I’m not sure when he will be getting in but just wanted to let you know”
I sighed heavily as I just wanted to give up. The pressure was starting to get to me.
It was coming. But I was worried about what would happen next. I straightened myself and headed into the room they had everyone waiting in.
I could feel all their eyes piercing me as I walked in. You could tell that they thought I was guilty. It was painful to watch and you could feel the tension in the room. I almost didn’t want to be there but I also didn’t want to be the only one off in my room to further contribute to suspicion.
I took my seat in the back of the brightly lit room and stayed silent.
We must have been sitting there for another 45minutes or so when Phillip blurted out
“I don’t know why they have kept us in here for this long. I’m tired and I want to go”
Dillion responded and said
“We are free to go. We are not under arrest but what can you do in these circumstances.
Nothing. So let’s just calm down and wait”
It all seemed handled until Beth said
“I don’t know why they continue to keep us here when they already know who did it…”
She said as she stole a glance my way.
“Exactly, when people think it’s okay to harm other people because they won’t be with them.”
Bart chimed back.
I felt so targeted and I was already on edge, I didn’t realize when I was up and screaming in Bart’s face
“Who the fuck are you to say that to me?
You know I would never hurt that woman you son of a bitch…
Fuck you Bart”
He was also up and in my face as Dillion and Phillip tried to separate us.
“You’re a fucking bitch!”
I yelled out. All I could see was red as I got angry. I wanted to punch him in the face.
The guys eventually successfully pulled us apart and I was huffing and puffing as I headed back to my seat.
Bart continued cursing under his breath until Sai said
“Bart that’s so rich of you. Weren’t you also all over Nora for the longest time and never got any. Does that make you a killer. Ease up”
“Correction we actually had sex a few times even before she got into her relationship and her engagement. So yeah…”
“Yeah and i don’t think you made that much of an impression on her. And don’t sit here and play like you weren’t trying to get with her even when we arrived on his trip. She told me
The last time Nora and I spoke before this trip, she said she had big news to share with all of us.
And she was excited to see all of us. So let’s all be patient and let the police to their job. I’m sure she loved us all and we cared about her too but fighting won’t bring her back”
She was right but more information had come out. I was surprised as a few other people.
I never knew that Nora and Bart had a thing even though I wasn’t shocked.
This was all getting crazy.
I sat there trying to remember the night again but I wasn’t able to connect the final piece of the night.
All I had was up until I slept off.
What happened that night?
What happened to Nora?
The door opened up and the detectives walked in and Ballazar said
“We heard it was getting crazy in here. Everything okay?”
He scanned the room and said
“Who was the lady that discovered the body again?”
Rachel raised her hand and that was when I noticed her. She had been so quiet.
I figured she was just still in shock or hand processed that Nora was gone.
“We want to thank you all for your patience. We have been working down a lead and we think we might have something.
Nora’s online journal was discovered and as we speak, our guys are combing through it to get any more information we can.
We know you would all like to return to your busy lives and we will have you out of here as soon as we can”
He looked over my way and turned around to exit the room. There were two police officers inside the room with us but they weren’t engaging us.
They weren’t giving us answers, I said a quick prayer as I hoped Nora’s journal would have some answers.
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“The nights are hard.
During the day, I barely remember being engaged.
Well once engaged.
Life and it’s distractions have been so helpful because I haven’t been dwelling on it all.
There is a stigma however subtle that comes from a failed engagement.
But I am happy.
I realized late that I didn’t want to be in that situation but I’m so glad I realized before it was too late.
Dating would be interesting but I’m enjoying the attention I’ve been getting already.
Everyone seems to be doing well for themselves and that makes me feel good.
I love my people. ❤️😍☺️
Bart needs to chill with the advances tho. I’m not making that same mistake again.
Dating within your group of friends can be so hard because when you eventually break up and believe me you will, it can crush the entire group.
Oooooooh! I saw Sage today for the first time in a few years that man is fine!
Too bad I don’t want a boyfriend right now but
If he makes a move, he can definitely get it. Or maybe I’ll just go and get what I want. Those big arms and chiseled chest.! How did I even miss it that he became so handsome? 😑😖😞😕
Anyway, I need to get some of him before I leave.
Rachel said she wants to talk to me but idk what about again. I think she may still be upset with me pulling out of the dynamic. I mean it was fun but I like dick too much soooooo… 😊😊😊
She’s been super quiet lately but we’ll see.
Anywho, I’m just glad that gang is together again….
I’m excited to have fun and be had… It should be a great weekend…
I’ll come back to tell you all about it..”
Those were the words entered into Nora’s journal the day we arrived on the trip. It wasn’t great surprising but it shed light on someone we all might have been missing the entire time; Bart.
My lawyer showed up with a man with him. The man introduced himself and I can’t seem to remember his name right now but they came into the waiting room with Ballazar and Matthews. Signaling to me, my lawyer said
“You’re going to want to see this”
Everyone sat up straight and wanted to know what he was talking about. We walked into the room they were using for interrogations and the man with Mr Cornell put a computer on the table.
He began to play a video and Ballazar said
“Is this footage from the hotel?”
My lawyer said
“My guys are already on this.”
Mr Cornell replied and said
“I bet you do but it would take your men days to go through all of it. I had one of my guys devote all day to it out”
“How can we know it’s not been edited? I need to verify it”
He stepped up and walked to the door. He opened it and spoke into the hallway
“Send Max here please”
A few moments later, a man I assumed to be Max walked in.
Ballazar asked him
“Is this the same footage we got?”
The man nodded and said in a low but audible tone
“I actually wanted to let you know that we got something. I think we might have been focusing on the wrong person”
Ballazar looked confused and turned to the man and said
Max was about to answer when Matthews said
“Isn’t that you Mr Moka coming out of your room and walking into Nora’s room?”
I squinted at the screen but I didn’t need to.
It was me.
I was watching myself go into her room. There was a dead silence over the room.
I was scared.
Maybe I did it but I couldn’t remember it. I could figure out what I would have been doing in there.
What The Heck Man
I was beginning to panic and Ballazar said
“So you brought us the video to show us that your client committed the crime?
I don’t know if I should thank you or advise your client to fire you”
He laughed as he spoke. Mr Cornell replied
“Just be patient and watch”
I wasn’t sure how this was supposed to get better for me and then I saw myself again.
This time leaving Nora’s room.
Looking completely normal as I had gone in. Besides I was thinking to myself, for me to have gone into her room, Nora must have opened the door because you would have needed a key card to open it.
I feel better but only a bit.
I walked out of the room but nobody knows what might have happened in there.
Mr Cornell said to his associate manning the video
“Speed it up a bit”
He clicked something and the video sped up a bit but it showed Nora coming out of her room, coming into mine and the shortly after leaving to hers with a glass of something in her hand. It must have been my Hennessy.
So I guess we drank together.
But it showed Nora was alive at the last time I saw her.
She had been poisoned though, so I could have done that in my room.
My lawyer told his guy
“Cut to that shot you found on the second floor”
The man pressed some keys and there it was. The clearest clue as to what happened that night.
There was someone walking into a maintenance closet but their back was to the camera.
A few minutes later the person emerged and now their face was visible to the camera and everyone watching. The next shot they showed was off her walking into my room with a white bottle in her hand and then leaving minutes later.
Mr Cornell leaned back in his seat and smiled
I was still in shock as Max said to Ballazar
“Yeah, that’s what I was trying to tell you”
I didn’t realize when I said
“Oh my God… I can’t believe it”
Mr Cornell said
“We couldn’t believe either but the video doesn’t lie”
My eyes wide open. My left hand was covering my mouth.
I could feel my brain working overtime, trying to wrap my head around it all.
I moved my hand as I said
“Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my fucking gosh. This entire time.
This whole time… Wow”
I looked at Max’s face and said
He nodded back. I didn’t need to say it but #WhatTheHeckMan was written on all their faces and yours right now.
THE STORY CONCLUDES NEXT WEEK. FADED 4.
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Lookout for Fade 4 starting next week.
© 2015 #WhatTheHeckMan